Top Tyre Tips
There’s no substitute for experience and with well over a century of tyre production under its belt, Michelin is one the world’s most experienced tyre manufacturers. It’s also one of the largest; it’s been in Ireland for 107 years, where it has three factories and employs almost 3000 people. So as you’d expect, Michelin knows a thing or two about tyre safety, which is why it has teamed up with New Driver IE to guide you through the maze of keeping your rubber in good nick.
The problem with tyres is that they’re not a very sexy subject. They sit there on your car, looking all black and round, and costing you money when they wear out. But they are the only thing keeping your car in contact with the road, and with a contact patch about the size of the palm of your hand, it’s essential that your car’s tyres are in good condition. There’s a lot more to tyres than you think with all sorts of things to keep on top of, and a stack of variables to take into account when fitting new ones. Any decent tyre specialists can advise you on how to get the most miles out of your rubber, but to give you a head start, these are the essentials. For much more help and advice, log on to Michelin.ie
Buying – Your tyres must be of the correct size, load index and speed rating. Confused already? Then ask a tyre fitter or go to Michelin.ie and check out the buying guide.
Checking – Check your tyres regularly, or you run the risk of experiencing a rapid deflation. Look out for nails or screws in the tread, and don’t ignore stones as they can work their way into the rubber and eventually cause damage. Also look for any other damages such as cuts and bulges or cracks in the rubber which could start to appear as the tyre ages. A tyre that shows any signs of damage or ageing should be inspected by a tyre expert who can decide whether or not it should still be used.
Tread carefully – Your tyres must have at least 1.6mm of tread across the central three-quarters of their width, all the way round. To check your tyre’s remaining tread depth either use a tread depth gauge or look for the tread wear indicators moulded into the base of the main grooves. For a Michelin tyre these tread wear indicators are in line with the Michelin Man symbols on the tyre shoulder. If the tread surface is level with tread wear indicators, the tyre needs replacing immediately.
Under Pressure – Too much air or too little air in your tyres can wreck your car’s handling, make your tyres wear out faster and increase fuel consumption. Checking the pressure is easy with the correct gauge; you can buy one for less than a tenner or there should be one built into the air line that you use to top up your tyres at the garage. Your recommended tyre pressures can normally be found in your cars handbook, or on a sticker on the door frame or petrol flap. Make sure that each tyre valve has an effective cap to help maintain an airtight seal and keep out the dirt.
Positioning – When replacing tyres, its best if you do all four at once, but because those at the front usually wear faster than those at the rear, the chances are that just two will need replacing at any one time. If you’re fitting just two new tyres, put them on the back and keep the part-worn rubber at the front, to help maintain stability in the wet.
Alignment – Incorrect wheel alignment is bad news for your pocket, as your tyres will wear quicker and need replacing sooner, and it can adversely affect your vehicle’s handling and safety. Therefore, if it looks as if your tyres are wearing unevenly, or if your wheels have had a big impact with a pothole or kerb, get you’re alignment checked by a suspension specialist or tyre dealer.